|Summary:||Lords Jacsen, Jason, and Jerold discuss the matter of Stonebridge.|
|Related Logs:||Stonebridge Letters logs|
|Beach, within easy sight of the new Terrick war galley.|
|29th of Tenthmonth, 288 AL|
While most noble notables have taken their leave of the Roost in the days since the Tournament, one Lord Jason Mallister has remained. The Lord of Seagard has taken a walk, along with his old friend Jerold Terrick and the newly made groom, Jacsen, to inspect the gifted war galley moored at the Roost's fledgling dock. Courtiers and the occasional bodyguard trail behind the three noblemen as boots crunch amidst worn pebbles.
Of course, Jacsen's gait is a bit unusual, and while both men might be familiar with the condition, neither might be said to be all that accustomed to walking alongside the lame Terrick. Still, he carries himself well, given. "It's treated me well so far, my lord," he answers the inquiry by Jason as to how married life suits him. "Though I'm one to hold judgment until somewhat after the sheen of newness wears off on things, I think."
"Judgement is a hot stone, my Young Lord," Jason Mallister opines in return. "It must be handled carefully, but held too long, it will scorch the holder." The comment draws a wordless rueful sound not until restrained laughter from Jerold. Looming ahead is the tall, two masted form of the war galley, at mooring, freshly bedecked with the purple and gold banner of the Terricks.
Jacsen's lips curve up at the corners, a glance sent in his father's direction at that. "Well taken, my lord. Better to find myself of a mind on it, and then turn to think of other things," he supposes. He lets out an impressed, though low, noise at the sight of that war galley when he takes a moment to pay it proper attention. "I will try to remember that." His voice is a bit distracted now, his attention on the new Terrick ship.
"A full galley," Lord Jason observes, taking in the profiles and armaments of the vessel, with the eye of an admiral. "Looks to be at least a hundred oars, with fore and aft castles. Is that a scorpion in the fore?" he wonders aloud, peering at the artillery piece emplaced in the warship's forecastle. "They build good ships in the West, if a bit lighter than I would like in a warship. An impressive gift."
As is his wont, Jerold is more reserved, taking in the vessel silently, and while keeping a composed expression.
There is a passing familiarity that Jacsen had developed in his years at Seaguard, under the same Lord Jason that takes in the ship now, though he never grew so familiar with the vessels as his mentor was. "It seems, to my mind, a good beginning. It will serve as a fine compliment to our new dock, and perhaps with continued good relations between the house of my father and my wife, we might add to it at a reasonable price in time. Especially should we find reason to expand upon the dock."
"I suspect the skilled manpower to crew such vessels will be your stumbling block, well before good relations with the Banefort, Jacsen," Lord Jason opines, with a smile. "Though as you say: the presence of such a vessel is an impressive statement to the power of House Terrick. If needs be," he adds, as an aside to the Terrick heir, "You may always round out your coastal patrols with the addition of some few longships, as the fleet at Seagard does. They are worthless against a galley in pitched battle, but take a quarter of the crew, and are simpler to maintain."
He nods his understanding at the Mallister's words, glancing over at his former mentor. "I should have a chat with a few of my lord's men there, when next I make it to Seaguard," Jacsen says, "There is much that our House could use some wisdom on such matters. As could I."
Lord Jason nods once to Jacsen's commentary. "I will send a few experienced men to instruct yours in the management of such a vessel, Jacsen. It would be fit for my son to have familiar faces about him." As Lord Jason draws a fresh breath, Jerold's expression alters slightly, as he catches some thread in Jason's words and begins piecing together meaning, even as his liege lord speaks. "Patrek is of age to begin training as a squire. He has stood as page for four years, and his tutors account him to be a bright and capable boy, but they all still my men, and they treat him as my son. I would send him for schooling in kngihtly virtue to you, my friend," this to Jerold, "There is no other outside of Seagard whom I would trust with him."
Jacsen's lips turn up at that bit of news, what is a gracious expression at talk of experienced men turning into something more prideful when his father is informed of the squire about to be put upon him. Knowing this to be his father's moment, and not his own, the Young Lord holds his tongue. His place with these two men has done nothing to erode the esteem he holds for them both.
Jerold bows his head with the words, but does not grovel. "I am honored, Ser Jason. But know that it will not be an easy path for the Young Lord."
The words of caution provoke a short laugh from the Lord of Seagard, "Jerold, that's half the point! Fond as I am of the boy, he will not grow into the man he deserves to be without taking his bruises and earning his place." Jacsen knows his fatrher well enough to recognize a flickered wince that is quickly buried by composure. Jason turns his words back to both the Terricks, then. "So tell me, my good Lords Terrick: whom do you intend to send to Riverrun, when Hoster Tully calls for a reckoning on the question of Stonebridge?"
Jacsen does not give sign of noticing either his father's reaction, nor the depth one might read into the statement on Jason Mallister's part. It's talk of Lord Tully and Stonebridge that draws him from silence, to say, "A fair question, though I am not certain on my Lord Father's mind in that matter," he shares, glancing to Jerold. "In absence of any wiser choice I would be willing to do this on our part, of course, or offer what counsel I could to whomever does. The assertion of proper claim to Stonebridge, be it through Ser Geoffrey's bastard son or through my uncle's wife, is the utmost of my priorities now that this business of a wedding is done."
Jerold nods once to echo his son's sentiments. "I have extended my protection over Ser Valentin and his household, guaranteeing his safety to Riverrun when called for. I think it only proper that- absent myself- Jacsen be present to see the truth of Geoffrey Tordane's line proven."
Jason Mallister nods once. "I will send a body of knights to escort any movement of my vassals through Frey lands, my lords. Though for my part, I will be content to see Jacsen represent our interests, and those of this Valentin vassal before Lord Tully. I have written to Lord Hoster myself, adding a personal appeal to your own writings, Jerold. He assures me that the truth of this Tordane matter will come out, regardless of who is left holding Stonebridge afterward."
"I am grateful for the confidence you both share in me, my lords, I will do my utmost to see justice done in the matter," Jacsen affirms, with a crisp nod. "And, in truth, I'd welcome any counsel you could grant me in my conduct of this. I have done what I can, already, to make an account of the comings and goings of Lord Tordane against what time frame should have seen the conception of Isolde, but that alone will not be enough. We've testimony as to the contents of Ser Gedeon's letters, testimony that should validate that it was writ with Ser Geoffrey's hand," he says, glancing to his father, "But I suspect the letters themselves have been destroyed, or are so buried in the Mire that they are good as."
Jerold nods once to his son's suspicion. "I expect as much. I have asked Ser Anton to bid his man Gedeon Rivers to make as accurate an accounting as he can of the letters he surrendered to Lady Nayland, so that if counterfeits are produced, there will be written word to set against them."
Jason Mallister frowns with the words, and mutters a curse. "Pardon me a moment of profanity Jerold, but the Stranger can bugger the lot of them." Jerold Terrick waves off the apology, and Jason goes on. "The legitimacy of the letters, as coming from Geoffrey Tordane must be key, Jacsen. If the circumstances, timing and happenstance support the writings, you need not prove the timing exhaustively. The letters are key. If those are lost, the Naylands may have bent themselves over their own barrel if Hoster Tully is inclined to believe all the rest."
"I wonder, as well, if Ser Anton had seen the letters, or could speak testimony to when they were first revealed to him, and matters such as this. The honor of knights, put to legitimizing the origins of the letters, might be of some help," Jacsen remarks, a thoughtful expression cast out towards the moored warship. "And what if Ser Gedeon was, before Hoster Tully, to make clear his intention to support the rightful holder of Stonebridge, be it himself, my uncle's wife, or someone else? Might his sincerity shine clearer if it can be truly divorced from the man's perceived ambition in this?"
Jerold answers his son, "Ser Anton has sworn a holy oath that he believes the letters to be legitimate. He has read them, and that lord's word will likely be a second boon to you. Hoster Tully is not likely to forget that all of those arrayed against Lady Valda's daughter fought under his banner, while none of those who support the Naylands did."
Jason Mallister nods once to Jerold's words, before offering his own musing to Jacsen, "Seeing Gedeon Rivers legitimized must wait until the Lord Paramount has accepted the challenge to Isolde's inheritance. Should that be accepted, all else can proceed. Gedeon Rivers- should he be named Tordane- would be the next to inherit. After him, the Lady Valda, and as she is otherwise childless, the next in line is married to Ser Revyn."
Considering the words of both men, Jacsen shifts slightly upon his cane, easing some of the pressure upon his leg. It is a longer walk than he would normally entertain, but the rare company he is in ensure he's made no mention. "We seem well positioned, at least from this perspective," he remarks, "But I have to wonder at what advantages lay in the Nayland court. For all that I know of them, I do not take Ser Rygar to be a fool. Surely they must know that we've witnesses and the like arrayed against them, and have prepared something to help their cause? They might not have known about Ser Gedeon's letters before Lady Valda was convinced to turn away from the Roost, but I cannot think they have been idle since."
Jason Mallister frowns at the mention of their opponents. Jerold is better composed than his younger liege, and answers first. "You will have blood from a stone before drawing good faith from a Nayland, Jacsen. Whatever machinations they have put into motion, you must be ready and agile of wit. Cleave close to the truth of the letters, and be cautious to avoid making unsupported slights. Though Septon Amery's death is a crime that reeks to the heavens, we cannot openly accuse the Naylands of perpetrating it. The bannermen of the Freys are as quick to cry at scores upon their reputation as Lord Walder himself."
"They will bait, I am certain," Jacsen opines on his father's heels, nodding in acute agreement with Jerold's assessment. "And you are right to say, my lord, that our surest course lies in cleaving to the exposed truth." He draws a breath, and looks to Lord Jason and then back to his father, asking, "I know not the schedule on which you need return to Seaguard, my lord, but I wonder if we might not find time for both Septon Josse and Ser Jarod to give their witness before you both, and have a transcription of it sealed by both the Lords of Seaguard and Terrick's Roost. Then there should be no doubt as to their accounts at Riverrun. As for the testimony of Ser Anton and Ser Gedeon, it seems as if they should be able to deliver such themselves."
Jason Mallister nods at Jacsen's suggestion. "I recommend attaching all of the involved parties to any embassy sent unto Riverrun, though yours is a sensible precaution, Jacsen. With your Lord father's consent, I say let it be done." Jerold's assent follows shortly after, in the form of a decisive nod.
Jacsen dips his chin at that. "I will endeavor to do so, my lord." And then, a final look between the father of his youth and what one could easily argue the father of his young adulthood, before he asks, "If my Lords have in mind any further wisdom, I would gladly hear it. Otherwise, you've my assurance that I will do my utmost to see this terrible wrong against a good and just man such as Geoffrey Tordane rectified."